Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Water use restricted in NZ's parched capital

By New Zealand correspondent Dominique Schwartz, Friday March 15, 2013 - 19:07 EDT

Stringent water restrictions will come into effect in Wellington at the weekend as northern New Zealand struggles with its worst drought in decades.

New Zealand primary industries minister Nathan Guy on Friday declared the entire North Island officially in drought.

"It's probably about 30 years since we've had a drought of this size covering all of the North Island," Mr Guy said.

The government is offering affected farmers financial help and counselling services.

Dr Brett Mullan from the National Climate Centre says it is the most severe drought in the north and north-east of the country in more than 75 years and could become more common.

"Basically the tropics expand under global warming, high pressure belts move down and intensify in the summer," he said.

The ANZ bank estimates the big dry is likely to cost the country at least $1 billion.

Rare water restrictions - including a complete ban on all forms of garden watering - are being introduced in Wellington, which has not had any rain for six weeks and has supplies for less than 20 days.

The last dry spell of that duration was in the 1870s.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Dry season in Western Australia forces Wheatbelt farmers to sell off sheep

18:30 EST

The lack of winter rain over much of Western Australia has left many crops to wither and pasture to dry out, with Wheatbelt farmers in particular being forced to sell their sheep.

Late start to winter in Tasmania

12:06 EST

Winter has finally arrived in Tasmania this week after dry and record-breaking warm start to June in Hobart.

Rain drenches Perth but fails to bring many desperate WA farmers relief

16:51 EST

A cold front over the southern half of Western Australia has dumped more than 60 millimetres of rain on Perth, and has given some struggling farmers a boost, but has failed to reach all agricultural areas desperate for a drenching.